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Victory Pitch

New all-weather pitch opened by Sports Minister will boost football participation and qualification rates

Recently, we were lucky enough to be joined by Sports Minister and local MP for Chatham and Aylesford, Tracey Crouch and our Chief Exectutive, Paul Thorogood, to open the brand new 3G facility at the Victory Academy School in Kent.

Local professional side Gillingham FC will be a key user of the site. The English Football League Division One club’s Advanced Academy for Boys will use the facilities to coach young footballers aged 15-16 from all over Kent, while Gillingham Ladies FC will use the facility as a training base. The Academy will also become the home ground for Meridian Girls and Ladies FC.

Tracey Crouch, said: “All weather pitches like this one at The Victory Academy are absolutely vital. Good facilities help to encourage people to play sport and gain from the physical, social and mental benefits that the game offers. Having coached a local team myself I have seen first-hand the importance of having access to quality facilities all-year-round.

“This investment will not just help increase the numbers of people playing the game but will also result in more youngsters gaining coaching and refereeing qualifications.” 

Click the main image to see the full video or the smaller photos for a picture gallery from the event.
The Foundation's Michael Boniface joined Premier League winner, Christian Fuchs, at the opening of Judgemeadow Community College's new pitch, which was made possible thanks to a £90,394 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, and asked the Leicester star some quick-fire questions!
Q: What is the name of the first team you ever played for?
A: SC Wiener Neustadt back in Austria.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice a coach has ever given you?
A: One coach told me: ‘Even though you might make mistakes, you must learn from them and move on.’ This has helped me a lot in my career.

Q: Who are the toughest team and individual you’ve played against?
A: Definitely Bayern Munich, I’ve played them 14 times and it was always difficult! As a player, Arjen Robben for sure, it was tough against him as he has a lot of quality.

Q: What’s your favourite moment from those games against Bayern?
A: We were down 5-0 against Bayern and I scored from a free-kick that was almost by the corner flag to make it 5-1. Arjen Robben came up to me afterwards and just said: "Respect", and we swapped shirts which was a nice moment.

Q: If you had to choose a song to listen to before a game, what would it be?
A: I like Classical music, believe it or not! It’s very calm and relaxing. We have a few DJs in the Leicester changing room, especially Wes Morgan! He picks all the songs but I’m still working on the lads to start listening to classical music.
Congratulations to Gareth Southgate on his appointment as England Manager. Gareth has been a Football Foundation Ambassador for many years, during which time he has opened several of our facilities that improve people’s experiences of playing the game purely for the love of doing so. He has seen first-hand that without a strong base of the football pyramid, the elite level of the game cannot prosper. Good luck in the upcoming World Cup Qualifiers, Gareth!

1. Raised in Sussex, the central defender came through the ranks at Crystal Palace FC before joining Aston Villa FC and then Middlesbrough FC.
2. Retired from football in 2006 having amassed almost 650 appearances across an 18-year playing career, which also saw him win 57 England caps.
3. Managed Middlesbrough in the Premier League for three years from June 2006, overseeing more than 150 games along the way.

4. Appointed England Under-21 manager in August 2013 and won the Toulon Tournament this summer – the first English win there in 22 years.

5. Led England to their biggest win over Scotland in 41 years, a 3-0 win at Wembley in November, and takes charge of his first World Cup Qualifier on Sunday 26 March against Lithuania.
These images show the transformation that took place at AC Hoylake in Cheshire thanks to a £94,429 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund. This gives a striking illustration of the fantastic work that is done within the grassroots game to improve facilities throughout the country.
  • Check out Everton's Gerard Deulofeu recreating Thierry Henry's free-kick from 2006 in BT Sport's 'Goals Recreated' series. 
  • Watch this bizarre moment a seagull interrupted the Australian FFA Cup Final. He's going to have a headache tomorrow!
  • Check out this footage of the unbridled joy on these young fans faces as Mahrez scores. This is what football is all about! 
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TopCorner E-Newsletter - December
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